Japan enlists anime icon Sailor Moon to promote safe sex as infection rate grows among young women
Japan has enlisted the powers of anime super-heroine Sailor Moon to combat the growing scourge of sexually transmitted infections among young women here.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare unveiled its new public awareness campaign on Monday, with the willowy blonde icon taking centre stage in the fight against syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STI).
The ministry has prepared 5,000 posters featuring doe-eyed Sailor Moon declaring, “If you don’t get tested, I will punish you!”
Watch: Sailor Moon episode 1
An additional 156,000 leaflets bearing the same message, as well as providing statistics on the sharp increase in STI diagnoses and details on how and where young women can receive treatment and counselling.
The posters and leaflets will be distributed through local governments and medical organisations across the country, with a prime target the annual Coming Of Age ceremonies for 20-year-olds marked every January 15.
To further push the message, the ministry is to distribute 60,000 condoms in heart-shaped wrappers and bearing an image of a winking Sailor Moon.
The ministry collaborated with Naoko Takeuchi, who first created the Sailor Moon character for a manga in 1991. The story ran for seven years and was turned into an animated TV series and three short films.
In a statement, the ministry said it chose to use Sailor Moon as the face of its campaign because the young women of today were the children who read of her adventures as children.
Underlining the need for the campaign, the ministry pointed out that there were 621 cases of syphilis reported in Japan in 2010. By 2015, that figure had soared to 2,697 cases and the total for 2016 had already gone through the 3,000 barrier by mid-October.